The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has shot off letters to several government departments to seek the consent of officials willing to be posted to the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
The letter sent to ministries and departments of railways, defence, commerce, customs and excise, posts and telecommunications said that “The new Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh are beset with acute shortage of officers.”
Bifurcation into UTs
The former State of J&K was bifurcated into Union Territories on August 6, 2019.
According to the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019, officers belonging to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), the Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFS) in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir “shall continue to function on the existing cadres,” till the Lieutenant Governor of J&K determines the final allocation of such officers between J&K and Ladakh. A year after the reorganisation of J&K, the cadre allocation is yet to be completed. All new recruits will be allocated the Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram-Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre.
Now faced with shortage of officers, the MHA is asking various government departments to depute Group A service officers to the two UTs to overcome the shortage.
In an office memorandum sent to the Ministry of Defence on October 26, the MHA said, “it is requested that the willingness of Central Civil Services Officers, selected through Central Civil Exams conducted by the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission), in the (I) Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS), (ii) Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS), (iii) Indian Defence Estates Service (IDES), may please be obtained and provide the name(s) of suitable officer(s), eligible for deputation in terms of existing guidelines and willing to serve in the Governments of UT of J&K/UT of Ladakh, along with the cadre controlling authority’s consent/no objection and vigilance clearance of the officers at the earliest.”
Similar communication was sent to the Railway Ministry to seek the consent of Group A service officers belonging to the Indian Railways Account Service, the Indian Railway Personnel Service, the Indian Railway Traffic Service and the Railway Protection Force for deputation to J&K and Ladakh.
There are around four lakh government employees in undivided J&K. Of the 58 IAS and 66 IPS officers, nine and 16 are on Central deputation or suspension respectively. The total sanctioned strength of IAS and IPS officers in J&K is 137 and 147 respectively.